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Four Steps to Go Deep Inside to Clear Core Beliefs and Live Your Integrity

May 13, 2008
Those of you on a healing, spiritual, personal development, or self-improvement path may be familiar with the process of finding and clearing core beliefs. These are the agreements we make as children to make sense out of the world and to keep ourselves safe. As adults these old agreements often drive habitual behavior patterns and limit us from actualizing our full potential. When we release agreements that do not serve us, we can create more spaciousness inside ourselves, and room to choose the life we want.

In this article I offer tips and examples for going deep into your center to find your truth and live a life of complete integrity, aligned with your essence.

Get Beneath the Surface

Often when we start tackling our beliefs and trying to change our habitual behaviors the surface issue is not the crux of the matter. It is important to continually go deeper into what you think the obstacle is, telling yourself deeper and deeper truths about why this feeling, belief, or pattern is disrupting your ability to be at peace.

Usually the behavior you are trying to change arose to distract you from an uncomfortable feeling. To successfully change the behavior, then, you must discover what the feeling is that you avoided and find a way to allow yourself to experience it. Until you do, the behavior will stubbornly arise again and again, morphing into subtler or different ways of distracting you from the feeling you are uncomfortable with. Here is an example:

Susan feels like she is twenty-five pounds over weight. She wants to lose this extra weight, but every diet she tries fails after a couple of months, and she puts the weight back on. When first asked why she wants to lose weight she says she feels fat and uncomfortable. When supported to look deeper, she realizes that "feeling fat" actually means she feels unattractive, and that she has always felt unattractive. When she was younger she often got depressed about the fact that there was a lack of "good men" in her life, because no one she wanted to be with was mutually attracted to her. Over the years this belief made her feel there was something wrong with her, and she decided the problem was she was too fat. Thus this unconscious belief created a dynamic where she is always working either on losing weight, or rebelliously overindulging in eating.

The weight issue keeps her distracted from the underlying internal story that something is inherently wrong with her and no one wants to be with her. It is easy to see how it would feel hopeless and depressing to believe a story like this, and a natural response would be to try and distract yourself from those feelings by focusing on a perceived solution like losing weight. From a conscious perspective however, this dynamic is keeping her from ever feeling a sense of wholeness and peace, and constantly pulls her away from her connection to Spirit.

By doing things like being willing to tell herself the truth about this belief that "there is something wrong with me," recapitulating it (see Raven's Recapitulation Workbook for information on how to recapitulate), expressing the emotion around it, doing ceremony, doing energy work, praying, taking actions that disprove it, and finding acceptance for herself no matter what other people think of her, she can change the underlying belief that makes her feel "fat and uncomfortable" all the time. Then she will more likely lose the weight, but even if she doesn't, the obstacle to her freedom will be removed and she can attain peace with her body and mind.

Tell Yourself the Truth

Sometimes we get comfortable with our "issues" because they are familiar. This familiarity can be a trap for the spiritual warrior. It is therefore critical that you tell yourself the truth. If you have been working on something for a long time and it has not changed, then something is probably wrong with your approach. While it is true that core issues take time and work to resolve, you should be able to see quantifiable change happening during the process. If your relationship to the issue is not changing then your approach is not working. Notice this without judgment and do something about it.

Dig deeper. Ask, "Is this really the issue?" If it is not, then stop the process and focus your attention on finding the real issue. Do you have the willingness to change? If not, stop what you are doing and turn your focus to accumulate the willingness and inspiration to tackle the issue. Perhaps you need to work at it harder. Whatever the situation, telling yourself the truth without punishing yourself is the key to unlock the path that will take you through this issue to the other side.

Celebrate Success

The third key component to achieving your freedom is celebrating your success. We often overlook celebration when we are trying to be a "serious" spiritual practitioner. Celebrating is not to inflate the ego, it is to give you inspiration and joy in the work. It is another part of telling yourself the truth. If you only tell yourself the truth about where you are failing, then your mind will sabotage your progress. Your "spiritual judge" may deceive you and try to trap you in a cycle of punishment. Beware: even if you feel the criticism is constructive, you will never satisfy that judging part of yourself.

If you can't find anything to celebrate, something is wrong. Spiritual work should bring more joy, purpose, clarity, and wonder into your life. If that is not happening, then please, examine your approach and modify it to bring more inspiration and light into your work. Make it fun. This is your life, not a chore. Sometimes the work is hard, sometimes it is uncomfortable, but if most of your thoughts revolve around the difficulties then you are only doing half the work. Inspiration is critical. You must keep the lightness in your practice and stay clear about the purpose of it or it will surely reach a dead end.

Rest Into Spaciousness and Light

The fourth step is to rest into the spaciousness and energy where the issue was. You have created a space where now you can deepen your connection to your experience of light, love, divinity, and peace. The cessation of pain, the space that gets created when you do the work, may at first feel odd, perhaps even boring. The tendency is to fill the space where the issue was with another issue, more drama, or more distraction, rather than resting into the space and seeing what will arise spontaneously next. In that space is the opportunity for more awareness, peace, and bliss.

I encourage you to consciously recognize the space you are clearing, feel into it, allow it to permeate your being, and deliberately dwell on it as long as it naturally arises. Then let it go and take the next action necessary to create more of it.
About the Author
Raven Smith is dedicated to sharing powerful shamanic tools to help you live your purpose. He is a mentor in the Eagle Knight lineage of don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements. Raven co-authored Spiritual Integrity and runs Spiritual Integrity Coaching with his wife, Heather Ash Amara. He also wrote The Recapitulation Workbook. Get more parctical tools from Raven.
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